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If you find it necessary, you could just use your car cell phone all the time, rather than just for emergencies. Over the years, I have never ever needed a cell phone in an emergency situation. That's not to say you wouldn't or haven't, I was just thinking about what the odds are based on my own life.

I used to use a Sprint calling card, but switched to a cell phone when I found that my calling card bills averaged out to what a cell phone plan would cost. BF bought me the actual phone as a gift, so I didn't have that extra expense.

I have a 12 year old daughter and am a single mom. My daughter and I pre-arrage her day. So today, or at least tonight, I will know what her plans are for the next day. If she does not have my permission ahead of time, she's not allowed to go to someone's house.

I got confused reading your post. I couldn't figure out whose house your son ended up going to. At any rate, there's nothing wrong with being at home alone for a few hours at age 12. They may get a bit bored, but if there is a neighbor they can go to in an emergency, that's fine.

One thing I did do when my daughter was staying home alone after school, and before I got home in the evenings was add Caller ID to my land line. If she does not recognize the name/number on the display, she does not answer the phone. She also is not allowed to make plans on the fly. 12 year olds are notorious for not makiing plans well. So if it is not prearranged and OK with BOTH sets of parents ahead of time, my answer is automatically No.

I do not need my cell phone to communicate effectively with my daughter. However, if you do need one, I say go for it. I have Sprint PCS plan and I pay $30/month.

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